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Mayor Adams Takes Measures to Support Small Businesses and Independent Venues, Levels Playing Field for NYC-Based Performers and Athletes

March 24, 2022

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With COVID Case Counts Low and Vaccination Rates at Record Heights, Mayor Announces Next Step in NYC’S Economic Recovery and Pandemic Response

New Order Follows Mayor Adams’ Recent Statement on Mask Requirements for 2-4-Year-Olds, Removal of Mask Mandate for K-12 Public School Students, and Suspension of Aspects of Key to NYC

NEW YORK – With COVID-19 case counts remaining low and vaccination rates at record heights, New York City Mayor Eric Adams today outlined the next step in the city’s economic recovery and COVID-19 response, with a new measure that will support local businesses and arts and performance venues across the city. Signed and effective today, Executive Order 62 expands the performer exemption to the city’s private employer vaccine mandates, putting New York City-based performers on a level playing field with performers based outside of the city. The new order will help kickstart the full spectrum of the city’s nightlife economy, which, pre-pandemic, employed nearly 300,000 New Yorkers and generated over $35 billion in economic impact.

“Today we take another step in our city’s economic recovery — leveling the playing field for New Yorkers and supporting local businesses and performance venues across the city,” said Mayor Adams. “By expanding an existing exemption, we are simply making sure the rules apply equally to everyone who is a performer, regardless of where they are from. The old exemption put our sports teams at a self-imposed competitive disadvantage and was unfair to New York performers. Now, with the city in a low-risk environment, we can keep protecting each other, as we continue to move in the right direction and deliver an equitable and inclusive economic recovery.”

“Two weeks ago, the mayor and I unveiled a plan to bring our city’s economy back equitably, and today marks another key milestone in the reopening of our city,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “This decision will give a significant boost to our concert halls, theaters, and nightclubs, as well as the bars, restaurants, and other small business that depend on our entertainment economy. New Yorkers have done so much to get us to this point, and we will not let anything stop us from bringing our city and economy back stronger and fairer.”

“New York City is coming back stronger than ever from the pandemic, and it is due in part to everyone doing their part,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “We still need everyone to get their vaccines, as we continue to monitor our numbers, follow the science, and move forward carefully.”

Before today, the city’s preexisting private employer vaccine rules generally allowed performers who live outside New York City and athletes who play for visiting teams to perform or play in New York City, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status. This double standard hurt the city’s economy and put New York sports teams at a self-imposed competitive disadvantage. Today’s announcement expands those rules to also cover New York City-based performers and professional athletes — helping to kickstart the city’s economic recovery by supporting live entertainment and performance venues as well as nearby local businesses.

The latest step in the city’s economic recovery and COVID-19 response, today’s executive order follows the mayor’s statement this week on mask requirements for two- to four-year-olds and his decision earlier this month to remove the mask mandate in public schools for K-12 students and suspend aspects of the Key to NYC program.

“The best protection for your health and the health of this great city is vaccination,” said Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “My advice as the city’s doctor, is for ALL New Yorkers to get vaccinated - regardless of their occupation.”

“We applaud Mayor Adams for finding another way to kickstart the economy,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Andrew Kimball. “Nightlife and spectator sports accounted for $35 billion in economic impact the year before COVID. That makes it clear that New York City needs to support this sector, so it can strengthen the financial footing of the rest of the city, especially our hard-hit small businesses.”

“New York City small businesses rely so heavily on the economic activity generated by the entertainment and nightlife sectors,” said Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Kevin D. Kim. “Thus, this executive order is another major step toward normalcy and, along with it, an opportunity once again for our small businesses to grow and thrive.”

“The entertainment and nightlife sectors not only define New York City as a creative capital, but they also contribute significantly to our local economy,” said Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Anne del Castillo. “The support of local venues and performers in these industries, many of which were adversely impacted by the pandemic, plays an important role in our city's economic and cultural recovery.”

“Mets owners Steve and Alex Cohen and all of us at the Mets are proud to partner with the mayor and his team as part of New York City's continued reopening and economic recovery,” said Sandy Alderson, president, New York Mets. “We look forward to welcoming fans back to Citi Field, and for Mets players to have the opportunity — for the first time in three years — to play a full season before the greatest fans in the world.”

“We appreciate the way the mayor approached this decision with deliberation, understanding, and reliance on the science,” said Randy Levine, president, New York Yankees. “He was open to the needs of New York businesses and is today delivering for millions of New Yorkers. We thank him for his decision.”

“This is amazing news — we are truly ecstatic that the vaccination mandate has been lifted on the performer side now,” said Michael Ginsberg, owner, Chelsea Music Hall. “It has been a continuous challenge to launch more thoughtful shows over the past two years, but this will give us an opportunity to dip into a broader pool of talent, as we continue to recover and reignite New York City nightlife, and we’re grateful that the city is progressing through this pandemic.”

“We applaud the city’s decision to lift the vaccine mandate for performers — we can’t be thankful enough to begin to do business as normal before the pandemic, with an eye on public safety as always,” said Paul Italia, owner, The Stand Restaurant & Comedy Club. “We have all sacrificed so much to ensure that this city rebounds bigger and better than ever, and we are here to build back together.”


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